EA Has Been Banned From Their Exclusive NCAA Agreement

A settlement on a class action filed against EA Sports has just been handed down that effectively prohibits EA from renewing its exclusive agreement with the NCAA. If that wasn’t enough, the company is going to write a 27 million dollar cheque to anyone who’s bought in since 2005. A court still needs to uphold the settlement, and we can expect a final ruling on September 27.

Now, how does this affect you? Glad you asked. Customers that bought any GameCube, Xbox or PS2 game is entitled to $6.79 per title. Current gen titles will net you a bit less at about $1.95 each. Make sure to check out the press release below for more details.

The plaintiffs in the suit argued that EA was in violation of antitrust laws by getting into exclusive agreements with the NCAA, NFL, and AFL. Per the settlement, EA won’t be able to make any exclusive deals for the next five years, and since their current agreement deals in 2014, we can expect this to get messy pretty quickly.

Check out the full press release below:

$27 Million Settlement Announced in EA Madden Price-fixing Lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO – Attorneys representing purchasers of Electronic Arts, Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) (“EA”) football video games have reached a proposed settlement over claims that the gaming giant violated antitrust and consumer protection laws and overcharged consumers for the games.

The case, originally filed June 5, 2008, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that EA violated antitrust and consumer protection laws by establishing exclusive license agreements with the National Football League (NFL), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and the Arena Football League (AFL). The agreements gave EA the exclusive right to produce football video games with the teams, players and other assets of the NFL, AFL and NCAA, the lawsuit states.

The proposed settlement, filed with the court on July 19, 2012, would establish a $27 million fund for consumers who purchased Madden NFL, NCAA Football or AFL games published by EA. If the settlement is approved by the court, consumers who purchased a sixth generation title (GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox) may receive up to $6.79 per game. Those who purchased a seventh generation title (Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) may be entitled to as much as $1.95 per game under the terms of the proposed settlement.

It also stipulates that EA will not sign an exclusive license arrangement with the AFL for five years and will not renew its current agreement with the NCAA, which expires in 2014, for at least five years.

“After more than four years of hard-fought litigation, we have reached a settlement that we strongly believe is fair to consumers,” said attorney Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, the law firm representing consumers. “We look forward to moving this process forward and asking the court to approve this settlement, which we think is in the best interests of the class.”

On April 6, 2011, the court certified a class of consumers in the case, including all persons who purchased Madden NFL, NCAA Football or AFL games published by EA between January 1, 2005, and the present.

The proposed settlement must be approved by the court before it is final.

Consumers can learn more about this case by visiting www.hbsslaw.com/maddennfl. You can also contact Hagens Berman, lead-counsel in the action, by emailing [email protected].